New York

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Time for a change in Ballston government

I’m deeply appalled at the state of affairs in the village of Ballston Spa. The report from the state comptroller’s office was very scathing to say the least and quite shocking. To learn that the village has failed to file their yearly reports for the last four years is total mismanagement. And then to ignore the comptroller’s letters to correct the situation is criminal.

We have entrusted the fiscal and working management to our elected officials. Mayor Romano and Trustees Hodsoll and Cavanaugh were mentioned as those notified of the village problems by the state,  and they didn’t address the notifications. My goodness, we trusted you to manage the village affairs, and you ignored the state of New York. This was blatant and unforgiving. The village is now in a very precarious position — $600,000 in the red and no accounting means to verify things for the past four years. We do have one ray of hope and that is the budget advisory committee.

It is a very good group of responsible citizens who have always been there for the community. I will trust their advice and thank them for their time and efforts.

Folks, this is what happens when politicians are too long in office — complacency and disregard for the job they were elected to. Time for a change.

James Capasso

Ballston Spa


Area clergy offers its help to abuse victims

As “Schenectady Clergy Against Hate” (SCAH), we write because we recognize that this is a difficult time for those who have faced or know about an incident of sexual assault, rape, inappropriate touching or other such behaviors.

In this recognition, we also confess that religious institutions themselves have repeatedly failed in caring for survivors.

Many members of SCAH are survivors of such acts, and have both witnessed and experienced such trauma first-hand. While we can’t change the past, we can bear witness to the present.

As such, we offer a simple message: If you’re a victim of sexual assault, rape, inappropriate touching  or other such behaviors, we’re here for you. We will listen, support and advocate with you.

As voices ring out through #Metoo (people coming forward and speaking their truth), #WhyIDidntReport (understanding why so many people do not report their assaults) and #IBelieveYou (recognizing that we need to start believing victims), we too know that sexual assault, rape, harassment, inappropriate touching and groping are far too common and impact minors and adults of all genders.

We know survivors often carry undue shame and suffer in silence. We know those who come forward are often forced to relive their horror. We are here to listen, to offer support and to be present through whatever emotions or thoughts you are experiencing.

Rev Dustin G. Wright

Rabbi Matt Cutler


The writers are clergy of, respectively, Messiah Lutheran Church and Congregation Gates of Heaven. The letter was signed by 15 additional clergy.



APA going too far on state Forest Preserve 

The following is a brief review of state administration and management of the Adirondack Forest Preserve.

Forest Preserve lands were incorporated into Article XIV of the state constitution effective Jan. 1, 1895. Management of the preserve has been delegated to the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

In 1970, the governor created a new DEC, bringing together under this department all state functions pertaining to environmental protection and management of the state’s natural resources, including the Adirondack Park and Forest Preserve.

In 1973, without regard for the constitution and the 1970 law, although under the influence of public conservation ideology, the Legislature and governor passed the Adirondack Park Agency Act. 

The Act grants the Adirondack Park Agency (APA) authority to develop an “Adirondack Park State Land Master Plan,” wherein are forest preserve management “guidelines” in goals approved by the governor.

The APA may mandate the DEC to implement a specified guideline and maintain compliance. The APA has mandated actions now underway, including: closing public use of roads; violating Article XIV Section 2, pertaining to reservoir construction; emphasis on “bulk” land acquisitions to expand classified “wilderness” areas; removing and prohibiting “non-conforming” structures and facilities, yet encouraging installation of lean-tos; and seeking modernization of facilities on public campgrounds.

Some APA actions aren’t in compliance with the constitution and have usurped DEC’s 125 years of traditional forest preserve management authority. The time has come to amend APA dictatorial conduct and simply welcome APA suggestions pertaining to future DEC arrangement.

Thomas D. Shearer


The writer is a retired state regional forester.


Unarmed guards are limited in response 

The Saratoga Board of Education recently voted to disarm the district’s “grounds monitors” (aka security guards). Protecting our children from active shooters should be an important responsibility of school security guards (although gum chewing and passing notes should not be ignored).

As a parent, you might worry this would make them less able to protect your child. However, there are still things an unarmed, defenseless, outgunned security guard can do when confronted with a psychotic, juiced up, active shooter armed with an assault weapon and plenty of ammunition and firing at anything that moves — mainly your child.

Here are some suggestions:

1) Shout loudly and wave your arms. (Phrases such as “Drop it” and “Get on the ground!” are used on TV cop shows.)

2) Hunch your shoulders so as to appear large and menacing. (Growing long hair and combing it into a large pompadour might help. Get lifts for your shoes.)

3) Jump up and down. Stamp your feet.

4) Pop your jaw and snap your teeth. (I tried this. It’s hard. Have your dentist on-call.)

5) If all else fails, charge the shooter aggressively. (This is a “bluff charge.” Be aware, he may call your bluff and shoot you in the forehead.)

6) After you’ve fallen, continue to crawl toward him. Your seeming invincibility vis-a-vis The Terminator may discourage him.

Many of these techniques are suggested for confronting wild bears. I admit, bears are rarely armed with assault rifles but, hey, you never know. So, load your child on the bus and relax.

George Nigriny



Climate change has become too political 

The report released on Oct. 8 by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projects that major disruptive climate changes will be affecting our planet by 2040. It projects that world temperatures will be 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than pre-industrial levels, an amount sufficient to substantially increase floods, droughts and world poverty.

This is news of a magnitude that impacts us all. I’m obviously concerned for my grandchildren. Drastic societal changes are needed immediately. This starts with enacting pricing (very high taxes) on carbon emissions.

This report is solid science that has been verified by highly qualified climate researchers, and we need to act immediately on the recommendations. But our history is filled with denial of science when it doesn’t fit our existing beliefs. Currently, 53 out of 100 U.S. senators and 232 out of 435 House members deny human-influenced climate change.

Our recent intense political disputes polarize what we see and hear. This new climate report illustrates how serious this polarization of news has become. Today there were news sites that reported on the facts of the report and other sites that chose not to mention the report.

The “Fake News” (New York Times, Washington Post, NBC, CNN, CBS) all had articles about the report. Fox News and Breitbart didn’t mention the report.

We require an informed citizenry to have a functioning democracy. When our news media decides to hide the news that is critical to our planet’s future, the entire world suffers.

Don Cooper


Commercial drivers take safety seriously

Re Oct. 11 Sara Foss column on the tragic limousine accident in Schoharie: First, our deepest condolences go to the families touched by this horrific event. The country grieves with you. Many factors may have caused this accident to occur, and the NTSB will eventually get to the bottom of all the likely causes.

Unfortunately, the most integral part of the equation died with the passengers and the driver. Sadly, we will never know what happened, and unfortunately, he will receive much scrutiny in the coming weeks. 

However, as a New York State commercial license holder, I want people to know that the person behind the wheel when you board that vehicle, be it a limo, motor coach or school bus, is expected to be a highly trained, experienced and responsible professional. It’s our responsibility to assure that the vehicle we’re about to take on the highway is safe and operating properly.

There are 53 items on the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report that must be inspected, looked at or tested before leaving the terminal. 

Health safety physicals are required by the Federal Highway Commission. In-house safety training is required semi- annually. We take our driving seriously. I work with some of the most experienced and professional people in this industry, and accidents such as this are avoided every day because these men and women adhere to these regulations.

No one can foresee the unexpected. We are human. But rest assured, the next time you ride this mode of transportation, your safety is that driver’s first responsibility. If you’re not sure, ask. He or she will be glad to show you they are fit to take you to your destination.

Paul Hasbrouck



Tedisco is supportive  of worker’s situation 

Sen. Jim Tedisco’s heart is in the right place. I contacted him about being a wrongfully discharged employee and being told as an at-will employee that the company doesn’t need a valid reason to fire me. I made reference to the recent Janus decision resulting from Mark Janus receiving free legal fees from 501(c) charities to cease union dues amounting to $45 per month. Yet there are no charities to help at-will employees.

On Aug. 13, the senator referred me to a New York State website where private-sector employees can try to fight the employer’s decision through arbitration and mediation. But unfortunately, that site’s tools are for public-sector employees only.

Although the senator’s referral led me to a dead-end street, I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for his referral. I appreciate that he didn’t write the employment at-will statute and his referral was the best he could do with tied hands and his heart being in the right place. 

The senator will get my vote in November. Private-sector employers, New York state and right-to-work charities will continue to get my fight.

Frank Coleman



Show more discretion in publishing letters

I wish The Gazette would exercise more discretion in selecting letters to the editor. Lately, this page published a bitter diatribe under the headline “Left is turning nation into a circus.” The author hurled one wild, unsubstantiated accusation after another at Democrats (including Senators “Chucky Schumer” and Dianne “not so Fine-stein)” over the allegations made against Justice Kavanaugh at the Judiciary Committee hearings, even though Republicans contributed far more to the circus-like atmosphere than Democrats. Didn’t he hear Judge Kavanaugh’s emotional, injudicious attack on Democrats or Lindsey Graham’s outburst? 

In any case, if the author wants to see a real circus, he should take in a Trump rally. (He probably already has.) For instance, at a recent rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Trump incited a chorus of “Lock her up” chants from his rabid fans when he accused Sen. Feinstein of leaking Dr. Blasey’s letter to the press.

Trump has no proof, mind you. He just knows she’s guilty by her body language – and this farce from a man who insists that Justice Kavanaugh was entitled to due process and who has the nerve to call Democrats “an angry left-wing mob.” But that’s Trump’s style. He’s a true carnival barker who insults everybody from a disabled reporter to sexual assault victims to Mexicans to anyone who disagrees with him. I implore The Gazette to refrain from publishing letters that lack substance and merely add to the incivility that has crept into the national dialogue. 

Fred Como

Burnt Hills    


GOP justices not worthy of high court 

Here are the names of a few good men: John Jay, John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis, William Howard Taft, Hugo Black, Felix Frankfurter, William O. Douglas, Earl Warren, Arthur Goldberg, Abe Fortas and Thurgood Marshall.

These are, of course, 12 of the most distinguished and respected U.S. Supreme Court justices since the formation of the court.

Now, add to this list the two men appointed by Republican presidents and approved by cowed and cowardly Republican majority Congresses: Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh. As The Donald would say, “Sad.  Very, very sad.”

Richard W. Lewis, Jr.



Faso is out of touch with his constituents 

Faso Town Hall: Sorry, but he doesn’t meet with voters unless he has pre-screened questions. No way to ask him why he promised. Then lied about saving Andrea Mitchell’s healthcare.

No way to ask him why he lies about Antonio Delgado’s positions on saving Medicare and Social Security and making healthcare affordable for everyone. No way to ask him why thinks Mr. Delgado is not right for the people of the 19th Congressional District.

Mr. Faso has never since taking office held a town hall to ask us what we want done in Congress. When someone can’t run on what they will do for us, won’t say how they will actually vote on issues, and who simply distorts his opponent’s past and his record should not be our congressman.

 If you want to ask Mr. Delgado a question, you will find him at a town hall near you. 

Thomas C Moran Sr.



Where is the justice in Kim Duncan case?

Concerning the case regarding Kimberly Duncan, The Gazette frequently reported about the city of Schenectady’s police leadership and its lack of integrity. 

Schenectady County ADA Michael Nobles’s press release stating Ms. Duncan contacted Sharon Clifford 56 times totally lacks context. It was a stream of mutual communication. This was a smear tactic with the primary goal of mitigating damage to both Schenectady Police Chief Eric Clifford and his brother, Officer Sean Clifford.

 The inexperienced ADA contends Chief Clifford recused himself to avoid a conflict of interest. The chief drove the complainant, his sister-in-law, to the station to file the report. Does the chief normally provide that service to other citizens? Then records show the chief was in contact with the crime lab. Incredibly unethical.

 Duncan is then arrested for going to the police station to file a complaint involving Chief Clifford. Ironically, she was allowed to attend court in the same building thereafter. The complaint? Dead.

 Ms. Duncan is a fly they’re trying to kill with a Howitzer. State Police, who I generally hold in high regard, are part of this mess.

The State Police investigator handled this extremely unprofessionally and recorded tapes give a biased account — that’s disgusting.

 Since Duncan filed with the city the intent to sue, all of this went into overdrive. Chief Clifford’s meddling in the matter is reason for discipline or dismissal. Laws are being batted around, but justice is nowhere. Another local police department that needs policing. 

Mike Merrow



Cobb is the change we need in Congress

This Nov. 6, District 21 voters have a very important choice to make. We can vote for Tedra Cobb, who lives, works and has raised a family in District 21. Elise Stefanik, on the other hand, moved into the district to live in her parents’ Willsboro vacation home prior to running for Congress in August 2013. Stefanik isn’t a true North Country resident. Tedra is one of us.

We can choose to vote for Cobb, who raised 85 percent of her funding from within New York state, or Stefanik who raised only 26.1 percent from New York state, with almost 60 percent coming from PAC money and large corporate interests ( Stefanik has to answer to outside influences. Tedra, who takes no corporate PAC money, will work for us.

We can vote for Cobb, who has experience working to get healthcare to people of the North Country, or Stefanik, whose vote would strip thousands of their healthcare. Tedra cares.

As demonstrated at a recent Tedra event in Lake Placid, there are many people from across the economic spectrum that support change. Tedra Cobb will be that change. Please spread the word to turn out for Tedra Cobb on Nov. 6.

Margie Gallagher

Lake Placid


Santabarbara works for kids, education 

As a teacher in the Schenectady City School District and the vice president of the Schenectady Federation of Teachers, I know that Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara is on our side.

Angelo has worked tirelessly for kids, teachers and our schools. He’s consistently fought for fair funding, securing more than $130 million for Schenectady schools just this year and another $100,000 for critical programs our kids need.

He has spoken out against standardized testing for teacher evaluations and knows that our teachers work too hard to be judged by tests.

Anyone who knows Angelo knows that he has always been a huge advocate for kids with disabilities. Last year, he help passed a law to make sure students with disabilities can take part in their graduation ceremonies.

His student cabinet program has been a great opportunity for students to participate in the legislative process and collaborate with others about the challenges their school districts face.

As a teacher, it’s so gratifying to see my students take what they’ve learned and engage in our community and civics. Angelo is the fighter we need for our students, teachers, families and schools. He’s the right choice for our district.

Mike Silvestri



Holocaust memorial reminder is needed

Re Oct. 12 letter, “Holocaust memorial needed as reminder”: Three cheers for Bob Nicollella’s letter regarding the Holocaust memorial.

This is the best take on all of the hoopla thus far on this issue. He hits the nail on the head, and it comes under the heading, “I wish I had said that.”

To quote Mr. Nicollella, “shock and awe is needed to remind people to never let it happen again to any race, religion or creed.”

Phyllis Chapman


Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion

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